: thank you for your winning tip from last week. You’re entered into the March drawing!
What a rookie I am! Last weekend, I took my first trip to Las Vegas. Let me reword that: last weekend I took my first rookie trip to Las Vegas. This is embarrassing, but I must share it with you to save you all from the same grim fate.
A group from the hospital had planned a weekend trip to Las Vegas for a conference. All the spouses were going along. We had different approaches to getting there. Those going to the conference were flying on U.S. Airways. I have no U.S. Airways frequent flier miles so that wasn’t an option for me. I do have a lump of Delta Airways frequent flier miles, but they wanted to charge me 40,000 miles for a three-day trip to Las Vegas. I didn’t think it held that kind of value. I have a bunch of future travel in mind, so I thought those 40,000 miles would be of greater value later, like towards an otherwise very expensive ticket or on a longer vacation. So I ended up using Priceline.com and booking a Delta Airlines round-trip ticket from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Las Vegas for $400.
I left on Friday morning, drove an hour and a half to Charlotte, and flew out for my first experience on “The Strip.” We stayed at the Palazzo and I caught a cab from the airport to the hotel. That was a mistake. The first cabbie ripped me off. He took a longer route and it cost about $36. I should have taken the hotel shuttle for a mere $6. I learned one rookie tip right then: Plan your commuting well through prior research. Don’t just show up and take the easiest thing available.
Sunday the 13th rolled around and my flight was leaving at 1a.m. Everyone else was leaving mid-afternoon and I really didn’t want to be there all day alone, fly the red eye all night, then drive home from Charlotte.So Sunday morning I woke up and called Delta Airlines. I told the agent I was scheduled to leave at 1 a.m. and I was wondering if I could get on an earlier flight to Charlotte.“You mean, you missed your 1 a.m. flight and you need to try and rebook?”
he asked.”No!” I said. “My flight is tonight and I want to try to leave sometime today.”
He assured me that my flight was indeed scheduled for 1 a.m. on Sunday the 13th — you know, the hour after midnight the night before — and I had missed it.
What an idiot, I thought! I really did miss my flight! I was thinking of 1 a.m. that night, which would be the 14th, not the 13th. I began to go into shock. I managed to tell the agent who had given me such grim news that I would have to call back.
These are some of the moments when I am so grateful that Mr. Frugal Travel Guy is my Dad! I immediately called Dad with the “Oh my gosh, what do I do now!?!” speech. He calmly told me to pack my stuff, go to the airport, and speak with a Delta Airlines representative in person.So that’s what I did. The Delta Airlines representative told me she couldn’t get me out of Las Vegas, and that because I’d purchased my ticket via Priceline.com, she couldn’t see a cash value for it. She said I would have to call Priceline and have them see what they could do.At that point I knew this day of travel was going to suck
. I pulled my luggage off to a bench and began my call to Priceline. And as I was speaking to a representative, my phone battery started to die. I searched and searched for my charger and it was nowhere to be found. I’d left it in the hotel room!By now I was kind of freaking out. No phone, no plane ticket, and Delta wouldn’t do a thing for me. I told the Priceline representative my phone was going to die and to do whatever he could ASAP.
I ended up paying an extra $800, flying out on the 11:30 p.m. red eye, and arriving in Charlotte at 9:30 a.m. I will NEVER make this mistake again! I did ask about an award ticket as well, but there were no seats available.
I spent the last 12 hours of my day wandering around Las Vegas, not buying anything. Then I went to the airport, bought a travel pillow and blanket, set the alarm on my phone, and fell asleep on the floor.The moral to this story: Know your reservations, check and double check, then make your flights.
Submit your travel tips in the comments section below for a chance to win a $100 dollar travel gift card!
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
First 3 months
IHG hotels Purchases
Gas & Fuel Purchases
Food & Dining Purchases